A Chuvash woman in traditional clothing with an ama wrapped around her
The Chuvash have lived over the Volga region of Russia since ancient times. They are considered to be successors of ancient Turkic, Finno-Ugric and Iranian cultures. The Chuvash formed the core of the powerful medieval state - Volga Bulgaria.
The ama which is one of the most common accessories worn by Chuvash women is made of bands of silver coins, and worn around the body in a way that resembles the armor of a soldier. As in many cultures of Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Central Asia silver coins are used in the traditional clothing of the Chuvash as talismans against the evil eye and malevolent spirits. The ama derives its name from a pre-Christian goddess of fertility worshiped by the Chuvash in past generations.
What is a hijab? Chances are you have seen or met a woman who wears one, but you may still be wondering what it is. The hijab is the most common name for the headscarf that Muslim women wear. The hijab is a choice for Muslim women - some women to choose to wear it as a form of worship to God and to embody modesty. It is a reflection of one’s devotion and belief in God. There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims across continents, which is the reason there are several hijab styles worn by women from different cultures and countries, spanning from Afghanistan to Indonesia, and each country has its own unique and traditional hijab style that women proudly wear. Each country has its own dashing style to be appreciated and celebrated!
In Malala Yousafzai’s famous headshot, she styles her scarf the classic Pakistani way. She loosely drapes the scarf (also called dupatta in Pakistan) around her head and leaves a bit of her hair to peek through in the front. The colors range from dark colors to bright colors, matching traditional ethnic clothing. This style is always elegant, classy, and versatile for any look desired.
Afghan women have often worn (and continue to) a unique type of hijab known as the burqa. The burqa is a long piece of clothing draped over the head of the woman and often drapes all the way down to the knees or ankles. This covers the entire face and leaves a spot for the eyes through a net type fabric. Burqas can be any color, but are usually blue in Afghanistan.
Malaysia, budding with new Islamic fashion trends, is the hotspot for all new hijab trends. Malaysian hijab often consists of light or brightly colored hijabs and floral patterns. Drapes are beautiful created to add volume and provide full coverage of the hair.
Similar to Malaysia, Indonesia is always budding with new hijab trends. Indonesian-styled hijabs fully cover the hair and may incorporate undercaps underneath the hijab to create a more elaborate and unique look. Certain hijabs may have extra volume by having floral designs attached.
The Ethiopian hijab is worn by wrapping it like a turban. The turban fully covers the head and hair. Turbans are created with simply fabric or elaborate, colorful, traditional types. Turbans can be set in place with pins and brooches.
Like Ethiopian women, Somali women also style their hijabs by creating a turban. Turbans can be created with long scarves to create a more volumized look. Women may also wear an undercap to add multiple colors and patterns. Jewelry can also be worn, such as earrings.
Syrian women frequently wear their hijab wrapped around their head and secured with pins. They often also wear undercaps and create drapes at the top of their head to add a unique design. In addition to fully covering the hair, this style covers the neck and partially the chest area.
The Palestinian hijab style consists of a tightly wrapped scarf, providing full coverage of hair and neck. Like the Syrian style, an undercap is usually worn to add volume and to help ensure the hijab stays in place as desired.
In Iran, women often wear what is known as the chador, a form of hijab. It is a long piece of cloth that drapes over the head and reaches to the waist (sometimes knees or ankles). The chador is often the color black and is a versatile, classy, dashing look.
The Turkish hijab is very chic and classy. While still providing full coverage, the scarf is tied into an elegant bow on one side of the neck to add a feminine, chic look to it. The hijab looks best with volume and with a simple knot or bow to hold it in place.
The hijab is much more than a versatile piece of clothing worn by Muslim women - it is a symbol of a proud Muslim woman worshipping God by deciding to wear the hijab, regardless of style. These are just a few snapshots of how the hijab is worn beautifully across different countries. The hijab is a unifying force of Muslim women of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities.
I’ve found that one of the best things about Losar here in Lhasa is checking out what everyone is wearing around town. The New Year is a time to show off your new and best clothes, and Tibetans go all out to look good as they walk around the streets. I did my best to capture some of the coolest looks one afternoon.